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Vocabulary is defined as the words we must know to communicate effectively. These words can be described as oral vocabulary or reading vocabulary

Scientific research on vocabulary instruction reveals that most vocabulary is learned indirectly, but that some vocabulary must be taught directly. (National Institute for Literacy; NIFL 2001). 

Word Learning Strategies

The NIFL (2001) also stated that students need to develop effective word-learning strategies that include the following:

  •  How to use information about word parts to figure out the meanings of words in


  •  How to use context clues to determine word meaning
  •  How to use dictionaries and other reference aids to learn word meanings and to deepen knowledge of word meanings.
Knowing the following can help students learn the meaning of many new words:
  • Some common prefixes and suffixes (affixes)
  •  Base words
  •  Root words

For example, if students learn just the four most common prefixes in English

  1. un
  2. re
  3. in
  4. dis

they will have important clues about the meaning of about two thirds of all

English words that have prefixes.


 (National Institute for Literacy; (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read - kindergarten through grade 3. Jessup, MD: ED Pubs).

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